Monday, June 24, 2024

Here are 5 things for sports fans to do and see in, and near, Rhode Island this summer

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The sun shines past 7 p.m. and temperatures have started to crack 70 degrees.

That can only mean one thing in Rhode Island — summer is fast approaching.

The nature of our weather patterns tells us it will arrive in an instant. Our sporting calendar will be filled with options before the kids head back to school in September. There are a couple over the next few months that could prove to be a bit extra special.

We’ve kept this list to five, but you can always find more. College baseball talent will be on display with the Newport Gulls and Ocean State Waves rosters. Golf, tennis, sailing, a spirited night volleyball match at Gator’s Pub in North Smithfield — they’re all potential entertainment outlets for the right audience.

That’s quite enough in terms of an introduction. Let’s get on to the business at hand.

Newport International Polo Series

International Polo Grounds, June-September

This is a throwback to the Gilded Age on Aquidneck Island. You might imagine a scene like this late in the 19th century in nearby Newport — athletes on horseback locked in competition, surrounding crowds lounging in the sunshine sipping champagne.

Get a taste of the good life — or do your best to pretend you live it — by taking a trip to these picturesque grounds in Portsmouth. Glen Farm plays host to both domestic and international matches every Saturday evening beginning June 1. Start time is 5 p.m. until September — it moves up one hour when the calendar flips to that final month.

Visit nptpolo.com/index.cfm for scheduling and ticket information.

Northeast Amateur Invitational Golf Tournament

Wannamoisett Country Club, June 17-22

Blink twice and these guys will be on your television screens trying to close out tournaments every Sunday afternoon. That’s the level of talent on hand at the Northeast, which is entering its 62nd edition.

More: A dramatic finish to the 61st Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett. Who won?

Just consider the path traveled by Nick Dunlap, last year’s winner as an Alabama undergraduate. He captured the North and South Amateur in July, the U.S. Amateur in August and The American Express in January. That last victory made him the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991.

Dunlap has since turned professional and that’s the normal career course for the elite in this field. Current world No. 1 and two-time Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was a three-time top-10 finisher at this event. Major champions Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson are past winners and current Team Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald went back-to-back in 2000 and 2001.

Admission is free and open to the public. Visit northeastamateur.com for more information.

U.S. Senior Open

Newport Country Club, June 27-30

It’s been nearly two decades since the USGA staged a professional major at this particular founding club. Annika Sorenstam won that 2006 U.S. Women’s Open in a Monday playoff — another of the game’s legends could lift a trophy in late June at Newport Country Club.

More: Some of the world’s best golfers will be in Newport this summer for the U.S. Senior Open.

There were at least two Rhode Island ties to the field as of early May. Billy Andrade qualified thanks to his placement in last year’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship race and Brett Quigley earned his spot by closing in the top 15 in the tournament’s 2023 edition at SentryWorld in Wisconsin. Both will attempt to give the local fans a thrill over what should be a highlight weekend.

Bernhard Langer is the defending champion for the event, which will formally open to the public with practice rounds on Wednesday. Ticket information can be found at championships.usga.org/ussenioropen.html.

Infosys Hall of Fame Open

International Tennis Hall of Fame, July 14-21

This year’s event could be the last of its kind at the Newport Casino. The tournament license has been purchased by an outside entity — a tradition dating to July 1976 could be taking on a new format in 2025.

More: Mannarino defeats young challenger in Infosys tennis tourney

Adrian Mannarino captured the title last year by taking care of American teenager Alex Michelsen, a Georgia commit who turned professional a few short weeks later. That’s typical of the field here — grizzled veterans in search of rankings points or match sharpness taking on emerging stars. The weekend induction ceremonies are the centerpiece, and the coming years will bring all-time greats such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Venus Williams to these hallowed grounds.

The tournament field and main draw will be announced closer to the start date. Visit infosyshalloffameopen.com/en for more information.

New England Patriots training camp

Gillette Stadium, TBA

It’s been a quarter-century since we’ve carried this many questions into a Patriots offseason.

Bill Belichick is gone. Mac Jones has been traded to Jacksonville. New head coach, new quarterback, new organizational direction — we’ll get our first public glimpse at some point later this summer.

More: Here is the New England Patriots’ full 2024 draft class.

Jerod Mayo has been promoted from the defensive coaching staff, a former New England linebacker now taking charge of his old team. Drake Maye was the No. 3 overall selection in the NFL Draft and will be presented as the next potential cornerstone quarterback. The Patriots are coming off a 4-13 disaster in 2023 that ended Belichick’s historic tenure here.

No definite dates have been set, but last year’s first open practice was July 26. Figure on something similar in 2024 and keep your mornings clear — teams generally like to avoid the extreme afternoon heat and thunderstorm threats.

Visit patriots.com for more information.

bkoch@providencejournal.com

On X: @BillKoch25

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